44 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP.
century of our era, and it is universally believed by
Persians, that Husayn married the daughter of Yczdigird,
who is known throughout Persia as u $hahr-bifmu" or
the "Queen." She figures among the heroines in the
Passion Plays, and Browne gives a translation of one of
the parts in his usual felicitous verse :
Born of the race of Yesdigird the King
From Noshirwan my origin I trace*
What time kind Fortune naught but joy did bring
In Rei's proud city was my home and place.
There in my father's palace once at night
In sleep to me came Fatima " the Bright" ;
" O Shahr-banu "—thus the vision cried—
" I give thee to Husayn to be his bride ! "
As the play proceeds, Shahr-bdnu is brought to Medina
as a prisoner of war by Hasan, who treats her chivalrously,
Omar, however, orders her to be sold as a slave.
But AH then appeared upon the scene,
And cried, " Be silent, fool and coward mean !
These gentle women, traitor, void of grace,
Shall not stand naked in the market-place ! "
Light of mine eyes! After such treatment dire,
They gave me to Husayn, thy noble sire,
In other words, as Alexander the Great is believed to be
of Achaemenian descent on his mother's side, so the
descendants of Husayn inherit the same royal blood
through the illustrious Sasanian dynasty* Now the
doctrine of the divine right of kings was fervently
accepted by Persia under the Sasanian dynasty, as the
previous chapters have shown, and there is no doubt
that belief in the Sasanian origin of the descendants of
Husayn has been the main cause for the faithful adherence
of Persia to the house of AIL
Its Religious Basis and Doctrines.—But this important
matter ha£ a religious side. Ali was the first cousin and
perhaps the first male convert of the Prophet. He was
also'his adopted son, and by marrying Fatima became his
son-in-law. In other words, since the Prophet had no
sons who grew up, the connexion of Ali with the founder
of Islam was closer than that of any other man, and he
was moreover much beloved by his father-in-law, whom